Colt Commander for Carry?


July 11, 2003, 12:47 AM
For those who do carry these pistols, what are your opinions? I carry very infrequently, and when I do I lean towards a revolver.

But, I'm coming into a Commander in my favorite semiauto caliber of 9mm :) and I'd like to train with it enough to carry it. I'm looking for thoughts on this pistol as a carry option.

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July 11, 2003, 01:16 AM
I would prefer a lightweight commander (ie, aluminum alloy frame), to reduce weight.

An all steel commander is not appreciably easier for me to conceal than a govt model.

Ala Dan
July 11, 2003, 01:20 AM
Greeting's All-

For carry, the .45 caliber Colt Lightweight Commander
would be real nice; for those who prefer a SA self-loader!

Best Wishes,
Ala Dan, N.R.A. Life Member

July 11, 2003, 01:33 AM
I think its a great size for carry. I carry a full size alloy frame 38 super some it works pretty well I think the commander would be even better.

July 11, 2003, 02:14 AM
The Commander is my favorite size for carry and range use.I have been carrying a Colt 1991A1 for a while.I prefer it over my Defender due to it being 100% reliable and I prefer the longer sight radius .The lightweight version would be nice for carry ,but I like to practice with my carry guns on a regular basis and worry about the lifespan of the aluminum frames after shooting a lot of +p through them.

July 11, 2003, 02:30 AM
I carry a Kimber Pro Carry HD II, which is a Commander size 1911. I thought about the Compact (commander slide on an officer frame) or the Ultra carry (officer size) but they didn't fit my paws very good and I like the longer barrel.

At our carry class, we were at the firing line and the instructor was checking our stance, looked at my buddy (who has a Pro Carry II (alloy frame)) and got to me and thought I had some tiny toy gun, I was "No, same gun that he has" and he didn't want to believe me :D

Zeke Menuar
July 11, 2003, 08:20 AM
Another vote for the LW Commander.


July 11, 2003, 09:31 AM
Commanders are great carry guns.

I have a Kimber Pro Carry CDP, and a Springfield Champion. Love them both.

John Forsyth
July 11, 2003, 09:35 AM
I carry an alloy frame Commander. You get the best of both worlds, large caliber 1911 based pistol and light weight.

July 11, 2003, 10:10 AM
I have a customized Colt 70 Series Combat Commander (steel frame) that I shoot the best of any of my several handguns. I have carried four different full-sized 1911s in my day (Colt, Springfield, Kimber) and I do notice the commander to be easier to carry -- not so much in the weight (my Blade Tech holster takes care of that) but in the extra length when wearing mid-length jacktes (less to expose) and on the draw -- the commander is very quick on the draw.

BTW, why 9mm?? If you want a similarly-sized single action 9mm, albeit with a different trigger, I'd go with a Browning Hi power with original capacity magazines (13 rds.)

July 11, 2003, 10:23 AM
The Commander is my favorite sized 1911. As everyone says, the weight is far more of an issue in this style of firearm than the size. The weight is not prohibitive but a good holster and belt is a must. I am a 9mm fan myself and all I will council on this round in a 1911 is that some of the pistols can be very finicky in which ammo it will feed reliably. The 9mm cartridge is considerably shorter than the .45 round the gun was designed for. Just be sure you put enough of your carry round through the gun to insure proper functioning (always good advise with any semi-auto). Assuming it works, I think you will be very happy with this pistol.


Zak Smith
July 11, 2003, 11:19 AM
The Commander is about 0.75" shorter in slide length than the Gov't model. I can IWB my Gov't in a good holster (e.g. Milt Sparks), but it's just about too heavy and when I sit on a hard bench, the long length of the pistol pinches some of my butt between the muzzle and the bench.

A lighter-weight Commander-size addresses both these problems, while speeding up the draw a little and improving "pointability." I'm having one built with a Caspian Ti frame for durability.

edited to add: I did shoot a Colt Combat Commaber in 9mm recently. It was pleasant and accurate, but it needed a good high beavertail, a trigger job, and a dehorn. I think a 1911 in 9mm or .38S or 9x23 would be a fun gun. For self-defense, just use a good 9mm load such as a Speer Gold Dot 124gr+P or a Wincheter SXT 127+P+ (if you have LE connections). For .38S and 9x23, you can load equivalent rounds with the Gold Dot.


July 11, 2003, 11:40 AM
I carry a Colt 1991A1 Commander in Sparks leather.
Works well for me. Never had a problem with weight, size or any of the other common complaints.

About ready to get refinished, I think.

July 11, 2003, 12:26 PM
I'll be one of the few who prefers a steel commander. Never liked the way the lw commander balanced. Just doesn't feel right. YMMV. I'll take a pistol I can shoot well over a pistol that's lighter anyday of the week.

Weight tolerance when carrying is a very subjective issue. If you're more likely to keep the gun home because of the weight, then you should go with the lightweight model. Otherwise, I think you'll find that you can shoot the steel gun a little better.

July 11, 2003, 12:58 PM
I have three Commanders, a Colt LWC, and commander built by Gunsite and a Titanium Commander built by Ted Yost. The one that I carry most of the time is the Gunsite commander mostly in a Cendex straight drop strong side holster. Today, I need a little more concealmet so it in an IWB.

July 11, 2003, 02:08 PM
I usually carry a kimber cdp or colt comm.,small lite and accurate. But in hot weather when i only have on a t-shirt i carry a glock 19c, dont have to worry about rust or corrosion. Tried a revolver as ccw but could not get used to it, too bulky!

July 11, 2003, 07:28 PM
I'm carrying a Champion and have been very happy. A lightweight might be nice, but I don't mind the heft of my all steel model.

July 12, 2003, 04:21 AM
My 50's vintage Commander .45 lightwieght is probably my most valued autopistol.

I've never fired one in 9mm but I'd bet its a little snappier than a BHP, sounds like a fine carry option.

July 13, 2003, 02:34 PM
I was in a store with a lot of autopistols on display yesterday. There were small Kimbers and Springfields on the shelf, but the one that drew my eye was a .45 ACP Colt Combat Commander with a nickel or hard chrome finish.

There's just something about a Colt Commander.

Andrew Wyatt
July 13, 2003, 07:09 PM
Dad seems to do well with his.

Art Eatman
July 14, 2003, 11:20 PM
My LW Commander has been a "pet" for 20-some years, now.

A regular Commander in 9mm is really easy shooting. You can really stack 'em in at high speed, what with almost no recoil...

:), Art

July 14, 2003, 11:39 PM
I like the feel and the comfort of my lwt commander XSE. With a Milt Sparks HR-LTD it is comfortable all day long. Jon

July 15, 2003, 12:47 AM
What's not to like in the Commander as a CCW? A well tuned 1911 is comfortable in every situation & mode of carry ;)

Dave T
July 15, 2003, 10:43 AM
Throughout my law enforcement career, and for the first four or five years of civilian CCW I carried Commanders (that used to mean the alloy frame version as the steel framed was the "Combat Commander"). I have carried and shot them so much that I cracked the frames on three of them. They are still one of my favorite carry guns, in 45 ACP of course.

July 15, 2003, 08:11 PM
Dave T,

how many rounds did you have thru them when they cracked?

Dave T
July 17, 2003, 09:33 AM
The first one at 2500; the second at around 5000; and the last at closer to 7000 rounds. Interestingly enough they all failed in different locations. The first one cracked on both sides where the dust cover meets the rails. The second cracked where the slide stop cut-out is located and at the mainspring housing pin. The last one developed two hair line cracks leading from the mag release back to the cut out in the frame (under the stocks) and in the thin piece of metal between the cut-out for the thumb safety and the grip safety.

Ammo shot through the first two was either Ball (issue at the time) or my handload duplicate of ball with a 230g RN cast bullet. The last one used Hydra-Shok as a carry load and probably digested a couple hundred rounds of that in function testing and shooting up carry ammo. The rest was my handload duplicates - a 225g truncated cone cast bullet over 5.4g of 231.

Zak Smith
July 17, 2003, 11:49 AM
For a "shooting" gun, a Colt aluminum frame might not be best, it seems.

Another lightweight option might be a titanium frame from Caspian. I don't have concrete numbers handy, but I think titanium has a comparable or better fatigue strength than steel.


July 17, 2003, 12:46 PM
I don't have concrete numbers handy, but I think titanium has a comparable or better fatigue strength than steel.

I believe you're right. Also like steel, titanium can have some deflection and still return to it's original state without losing structural integrity. Aluminum, OTOH, can't be allowed to deflect because it does not return to it's original state and the damage to the structural integrity is cumulative.

July 17, 2003, 10:33 PM
Now let me ask this...

Everyone always throws off on the alloy frame of the Light weight Commander...

But no one ever has anything bad to say about the alloy frame of the Sig P220.

Could someone please explain why?

July 18, 2003, 09:49 PM
Thanks for the replies.

I've got several different ideas for what is the IDEAL carry handgun. However, based upon what I find in my inventory, I'm going to choose this lightweight Commander. I like the 9mm for concealed carry, I like the feel of a 1911, and the two together make sense to me. Plus, it gives me a chance to load all of that 9mm brass that I have lying around. I just hope that it can digest personal defense ammunition regularly.

July 19, 2003, 03:48 PM
I've carried a Beretta 92 for about seven years...

The new Compact CDP is MUCH easier! I can't imagine not being dissapears, even with a poor quality holster...and I'm not a big guy.

My .02

July 19, 2003, 09:19 PM
I picked up a 70 series Satin Nickle Colt Commander and it shot OK. I throated the barrel, added a Wilson Group Gripper and an Ed Brown drop in barrel bushing and now it shoots FANTASTIC. Life is Good......

July 19, 2003, 09:27 PM
I bought a new Colt Commander specifically to have it customized by a local gunsmith into what *I* felt would be my perfect carry gun. It's a fantastic pistol, I've just always felt that the Commander size was perfect for me.

Here's how it looks, after the 'smithing work and a trip to Tripp's Research for hard chroming:

and my carry rig, a Sparks VM2 with a Matt DelFatti double in-the-pocket magazine holder:

Dave T
July 20, 2003, 11:08 AM

Picture your gun built on a pre-Series 70 Commander with 30 LPI checkering on the front strap and you will know what my last "cracked" Commander looked like. To say I was upset would be an understatement!

July 20, 2003, 11:19 AM
Dave T - ouch!

Mine is the all-steel version, so hopefully this one will last until I'm replacing barrels and such. :)

July 23, 2003, 11:45 PM
I finally have the Commander, it's beautiful. The trigger is even better than I remembered, and the only thing I can think of doing to this pistol is to add some Novak-type sights for carry.

Range report to follow.

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